The flower show -🌺 The Spring Ornamental Plant Competition 🌸- was a very early start - I met Mummy at 8am at Wisley on Saturday morning, to help with the final set up for the exhibs from High Beeches Garden.The set up had been going on the day before, so most rhododendrons 🌸 and camellias 🌺were already looking pretty good - there was some last minute cleaning of petals and leaves and general rearrangement going on.I have been to one of these before, quite some time ago - but was excited to go again. It's a very friendly vibe, nothing like your village fair vegetable competition 🍆🍍🌽(not that I have ever been to one of these before) but I always imagine (mainly I think from Wallace and Gromit🐶) that the other competitive competitors are giving each others marrows 🍆 furtive glances over the garden wall in the week before the show, and that there is always the potential for night time sabotage - because, you know, it is important to win.However, the flower showing bunch are a friendly sort, and there was lots of chat about gardens, and the weather, and the early start and the weather. It has been WET 💧💧💧 this year - you may have noticed, so this upsets the balance of the growing. The magnolias are suffering big time, there were hardly any on show, and people have had to be a bit more inventive with what they are going to show. The big gardens such as Exbury and Savill Gardens have lots of choice, it's trickier for us smaller gardens with less choice. My favourite, possibly, are the small private gardens - the real plant enthusiasts who dearly love their plants, and are excited to get a chance to show against some of this big name competitors.So it was a nice morning, and we tidied up our rhododendrons 🌸, had a good peer at everyone else's exhibits, and chatted plants. We decided we had done the very best we could and went for breakfast altogether ☕️.Then after the judging 📝, we came back to the show and we hadn't done too badly at all - a number of first prizes for rhododendrons AND we came third in the big class. Next was prize giving. What I like about plant people 🌳👦👧 is you get the tidy tweed jacket wearers, and you get the 'I have come straight from my garden with mud everywhere' types. But really all they care about are the plants. The lady presenting the prizes was wearing a splendid jacket with large camellia flowers 🌺 printed all over it.I enjoyed myself immensely, and took A LOT of photos. We weren't actually exhibiting camellias 🌺, but I got excited and photographed a lot of them, I just love how perfectly formed the flowers are, and they often have superb names ...... and of course I took photos of our rhododendrons too.I also took home a number of plants that didn't make it into the exhibit, and now our house looks like a small arboretum 🌳🍃🌿🌺... possibly my flatmates are becoming worried..... there is a story somewhere, I think by Gerald Durrell, one of his early memories of visiting an elderly lady, always in her bedroom, four poster bed and dressing table with mirror, and the curtains were always closed, and in the half light he could see the whole room was just filled with flowers and plants... I haven't got to this stage, yet..Alice xxx
Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta Chenault
Magnolia Sargentiana was named after Charles Sargent, the Director of the Arnold Arboretum. It was discovered by Ernest Wilson in 1903 in the hamlet of Yin-Kou, in the western Sechuan province of China. On a second expedition in 1908 Wilson collected the seeds of this variety, Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta. Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta Chenault at High Beeches Gardens was blown over in the great storm of 1987. It still flowers every year, and looks absolutely spectacular in early April.
Dress: Vintage Murray Arbeid; Shoes: Office.Photographed by: Sarah Bray & Emily BrayPhotographed at: High Beeches Garden